Sunday, December 22, 2013


I took a short side trip, with my sister Pat but without the van, to Spain.  Yes, the place Columbus sailed from.  Below are some of the pictures I took while there.  I highly recommend it.  If you stay in cites like Madrid and Barcelona, you can get by without much spanish vocabulary.  Farther from the cities, lack of language skills can be an issue.  Still, not a big issue. 

packed light.

Pat and I in Madrid.


squid.  Yum!

I was amazed at how old some of the architecture is there.  It was nothing to wander in to a building, usually a church, and see that it was built 500 years ago.  Still used regularly, updated with electric lights…

Baby eels and shrimp.  

Don’t be afraid to go in the off season (winter).  Temps reached a low in the mid-30s, but mid-40s was more common.  Crowds were much smaller, I’d guess, than during the warmer months.  Hotels were cheaper, seats on the trains and subways were more available.  A good trade off, in my opinion.

Jumbo shrimp or tiny lobster.

Street art or not, we never determined.

We had a great time, saw amazing sights, ate amazing foods, took lots of pictures.  Now go!  What are you waiting for?  Lots more pictures below!

very old church.

Fried eggs and potatoes.  

Don't remember what this is but it was delicious!!

Calamari.  Yum! 

Bull Ring in Barcelona.  

Pat thought she heard a bull...

John, you know these shoes are for you.

I tried these.   If you go to Spain, order everything else.

150 Anys?!  It must be good!!

4-5 story enclosed train station.  


Frost on tap was real.  FREAKING REAL!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Michigan to Kentucky

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it."
- Henry David Thoreau

The Upper Peninsula was great, I could have stayed up there a lot longer.  If it wasn’t October.  But it is, and the weather got cold and wet, so I left the U.P.  

I made a brief stop to visit the Experimental Aircraft Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  Another place that I didn’t see despite living in that town for nearly a year.  

Heading south toward my hometown in southern Wisconsin, I attended the wedding of my nephew James and his wife Katie.  It was wonderful to see them and a great chance to see some family that I just don’t get to see enough of.  Then there was a short trip back to lower Michigan for a few days with some dear friends.  But the weather is not great, not like during my time in the U.P.  (check their facebook page for pictures of the wedding)

Beer supply and fire getting low, James gets out the shop vac.

That's one problem solved!  Ash was later found, well, everywhere.
James races stock cars...
He's pretty good at it.
Quite good, in fact.
The garage ceiling.
Standard wedding cake.  Ha!
Heading south, I stopped in Dayton, Ohio, for another look at the Air Force Museum.  I visited it a couple years ago an it was definitely worth a second trip.

Not as huge, but very unique, was the John Poplin Civil War Home and Museum.  I reasonable $2 got me a guided tour of the place.  

And still I’m heading south.  The motorcycles in the back of the van are getting cabin fever, I can tell.  And I am too.  Geography, the season, and the weather have conspired against me to keep me from camping.  All these hotels are killing my budget.  Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee: the campgrounds are closed and even the national forest roads are closed, probably to keep people like me from driving out there and getting stuck in the snow.  A reasonable precaution, given my preference for getting off the beaten path.